DP1356 | The Decline in Unskilled Employment in UK Manufacturing


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Almost all studies of skilled/unskilled employment over the 1980s use data on manuals and non-manuals to measure skill. This paper constructs data on skilled/unskilled employment using occupational data from the UK New Earnings Survey Panel Data set. It merges these data with other product and labour market information on trade, computers, unionization, subcontracting etc. The major findings are: (a) the ratio of skilled to unskilled employment rose by 4.4%; (b) the averaging effect of the shift of employment between industries is negligible in explaining this rise; (c) the introduction of microprocessors/computers increased the employment ratio by 1.5%; and (d) there is no significant effect from trade, unionization, subcontracting, small firms or entry.